I’m sure like many of y’all, in our house, we had to take a good, hard look at whether it was safe to gather as a family this Thanksgiving as COVID-19 cases surge across the country. As of this writing, more than one million of our neighbors have battled COVID-19 infections, and 19,579 Texans have lost their lives to the novel coronavirus. While hope for an effective vaccine grows by the day, we hope you and your family will take every precaution to keep each other safe next week and give your thanks via video chat.
Navigating the holidays is always tricky, but in these trying times, we really are in uncharted territory. To make sure you make the most of your first virtual Thanksgiving, we’ve got these five tips for success.
Be the host this time
Since no one needs to be physically inside your house, you should reach for that brass ring and host the Zoom meeting. There are some very important reasons for this, but chief among them is the host’s ability to mute any members of your family deadset on convincing everyone that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 elections and that everyone in Philly frequents Four Seasons Landscaping. Did Uncle Chuck show up with his MAGA hat again? Cousin Chad inviting everyone to join Parler? Hit that mute button.
Dial-up your most festive background.
Have a solid photoshop of Joe Biden carving a gigantic Turkey? Dial it up for the big moment. Did Uncle Chuck figure out how to unmute himself? Switch over to a good, old fashioned Nancy Pelosi slow clap. From a family that loves to hunt? Ann Richards with a shotgun. Do it big, Texans. It’ll be worth it. (And send screenshots to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Remember that you love each other.
We’re coming out of four long years of divisiveness, and we don’t have to live our lives that way anymore. Even if you don’t see eye to eye with your family, there has never been a more important time to remember the common ground we’re still able to stand on together.
Only show your best work.
Thanksgiving accidents happen. Turkeys take a few extra minutes, gravy is a labor of love, sometimes pies don’t bake symmetrically. Your biggest advantage in Thanksgiving chefery this year is that your aunt isn’t there to see your missteps and mention them at each successive Thanksgiving you spend together. Prepare your feast off-camera, plate only what you’re willing to reveal to the inquiring eye, and rest safe in the knowledge that they’ll never know you burned something.
Be thankful, but be thoughtful.
While we’re all thankful that we’re turning a page in our national politics, we should also all keep our neighbors and fellow Texans in mind. From a raging pandemic to an antiquated criminal justice system to a fragile economy, we face some serious challenges as Texans and Americans. Let’s all use this Thanksgiving as an opportunity to think of the work yet to be done and the people who most need us to build a fairer and more just Texas.
Joe brings over a decade of experience as a political operative and creative strategist to Texas Signal, where he serves as our Senior Advisor and does everything from writing a regular column, Musings, to mentoring our staff and freelancers. Joe was campaign manager for Lina Hidalgo's historic 2018 victory for Harris County Judge and is a passionate sneakerhead.